Posted on: January 12, 2013 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Sample SHEQ exam questions and answers on health and safety functions, from OHSE qualifications in Africa and Canada are posted here.

Exam Q&A extracts are posted for comparison to local approaches and training material. The extract is not comprehensive and does not represent a full course, exam, or qualification. Approaches and legislative elements vary among African countries.

Due to length, this theme is divided into a series of posts, based on different OHS exam theme sections;
• Risk management principles questions
• OHS legislative approaches questions
• OHS corporate culture questions
• OHS legal duties questions
• OHS related labour relations questions
• Occupational health and safety representative functions questions
• Occupational health and safety advisor functions questions
• OHS management systems questions
• Occupational safety and behavioural management questions
• Occupational health management questions
• Occupational hygiene management questions
• Workplace ergonomics management questions
• Equipment, hand tools, ladders, PPE
• Occupational environmental management questions
• OHS internal audit management questions
• OHS incident investigation questions

OHS functions questions and answers

OHS functions include;
• occupational health and safety hazard identification
• OHS inspection
• OHS risk assessment
• OHS risk profile
• conducting meetings
• managing representatives
• making presentations
• management system components implementation
• management system maintenance
• induction training
• coaching
• emergency planning and response
• incident reporting
• incident investigation.

Health and Safety Rep functions questions

Legal advice question; A worker is seriously injured in a machinery accident at a large production plant. The representative representing the worker alleges that the health and safety representative had failed to do a thorough inspection of the workplace and feels that he should be held liable for the injury. Advise the injured worker on legal aspects relating to the incident.

Does a health and safety representative require the skills to perform audits?

Must a health and safety representative be a full-time appointment?

Which employees have, together with the health and safety representative, the most influence on health and safety in the workplace?

Do you have effective health and safety representatives in your workplace and have you ever reported any incident to them?

Which sections of the OHS Act deals with health and safety representatives?

Health and Safety Rep functions answers

Answers to HS Reps questions are included in the paragraphs below, from the Solidarity Certificate in basic Occupational Health and Safety, 2009, for HS Representatives.

HS Reps require basic training in six modules;
• Occupational health and safety legal framework
• Safety culture
• Functions of a workplace HS representative
• Risk analysis
• Occupational health and hygiene
• Compensation for occupational injuries and diseases.

Essential knowledge, skills and attributes of a health and safety representative include:
• Commitment to ensuring and maintaining health and safety at work
• OHS Act, MHS Act and sets of Regulations
• Corporate health and safety policies and procedures
• Work environment and processes
• Hazard identification and risk analysis
• Conducting safety and compliance audits
• Interpersonal and written communication formats and methods.

It is essential to evaluate workers and their roles when analysing and evaluating health and safety systems in a workplace. The personnel that will generally influence the workplace the most with regard to health and safety include the CEO or MD, line management, supervisors and health and safety representatives.

Health and safety representatives play a significant role in ensuring that employees work safely and that the environment is risk free and in compliance with the minimum standard as set out by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The OHS Act supports the importance and responsibility of health and safety representatives by stipulating the requirements and need for health and safety representatives as set out in Section 17. It further sets out certain functions to be performed by health and safety representatives in Section 18. Health and safety representatives are generally appointed on a part-time basis.

If an employee is elected as a health and safety representative, he/she still continues to perform his normal job. In some cases, however, the company may decide to appoint the elected representative in a full-time capacity, which will ultimately allow this individual to perform his/her functions in a more effective manner.

OHS Act section 18

1 A health and safety representative may perform the following functions at a workplace or section designated to him or her;
(a) review effectiveness of health and safety measures;
(b) identify potential hazards and potential major incidents at the workplace;
(c) in collaboration with his/her employer, examine the causes of incidents at the workplace;
(d) investigate complaints by any employee relating to that employee’s health or safety at work;
(e) make representations to the employer or a health and safety committee on matters arising from paragraphs (a), (b), (c) or (d), or where such representations are unsuccessful, to an inspector;
(f) make representations to the employer on general matters affecting the health or safety of the employees at the workplace;
(g) inspect the workplace, including any article, substance, plant, machinery or health and safety equipment at that workplace with a view to, the health and safety of employees, at such intervals as may be agreed upon with the employer, provided that the health and safety representative shall give reasonable notice of his intention to carry out such an inspection to the employer, who may be present during the inspection;
(h) participate in consultations with inspectors at the workplace and accompany inspectors on inspections of the workplace;
(i) receive information from inspectors as contemplated in Section 36; and
(j) in his/her capacity as a health and safety representative attend meetings of the health and safety committee of which he/she is a member, in connection with any of the above functions.

(2) A health and safety representative shall, in respect of the workplace or section of the workplace for which he/she has been designated be entitled to;
(a) visit a site of an incident at all reasonable times and attend any inspection in loco;
(b) attend any investigation or formal inquiry held in terms of this Act;
(c) in so far as it is reasonably necessary for performing his/her functions, inspect any document which the employer is required to keep in terms of this Act;
(d) accompany an inspector on any inspection;
(e) with the approval of the employer (which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld), be accompanied by a technical adviser, on any inspection; and
(f) participate in any internal health or safety audit (Sub-section (2) substituted by S5 of Act 181 of 1993).

(3) An employer shall provide such facilities, assistance and training as a health and safety representative may reasonably require and as have been agreed upon for the carrying out of his functions.
A health and safety representative shall not incur civil liability by reason of the fact only that he/she failed to do anything which he may do or is required to do in terms of this Act.

Sources of extracts in this series

SA Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA)
Solidarity Certificate in basic Occupational Health and Safety, 2009, for HS Representatives
SA Department of Labour Compliance conference March 2012
Master Builders SA
Buildsafe SA Safety Alerts
Board of Canadian Registered Safety Practitioners (BCRSP) textbooks
BCRSP sample HSE exam questions and answers
Buildsafe SA Best Practice Bulletins
The extracts do not reflect a comprehensive training course, qualification or exam. Approaches and legislative elements differ in various African countries.


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